SwimSwam Pulse is a recurring feature tracking and analyzing the results of our periodic A3 Performance Polls. You can cast your vote in our newest poll on the SwimSwam homepage, about halfway down the page on the right side, or you can find the poll embedded at the bottom of this post.
Our most recent poll asked SwimSwam readers which stroke 200 has the biggest change from short course to long course:
Question: Which event has the biggest difference between short course yards and long course meters?
- 200 breaststroke – 44.0%
- 200 butterfly – 21.6%
- 200 backstroke – 18.7%
- 200 freestyle – 15.7%
The 200 breaststroke came out on top with over 44 percent of votes, though all strokes picked up their fair share.
The results largely mirror what we saw in a similar poll from January 2020, where it was asked in general, which stroke is the most different between LC and SCY, not specific to any one distance. Breaststroke picked up 51% of the votes in that poll.
This poll narrowed in on the 200s to give each stroke a level playing field, but it remains clear that fans believe breast has the biggest difference between the two formats.
If we look at the difference between the fastest times ever swum in the long course and short course (yards) pools, the 200 stroke event with the biggest percentage change is backstroke. The men’s 200 back has a 16.9% difference from SCY to LCM, and the women’s is 15.0%.
Breaststroke sits second if we average out the two numbers, with the men’s (16.7%) and women’s (13.7%) averaging to 15.2% (to backstroke’s 15.95%).
Anyone who’s raced competitively knows the distinct difference between having seven turns and walls to work with in a SC race compared to just three in LC. While this is felt in all four strokes, no doubt, perhaps breaststroke is where one is forced to change their stroke the most (longer glide in LC, quicker tempo in SC) between the two in order to manage fatigue and execute optimally.
Underwaters play a major role in the other three events, more so back and fly than free, but the swimming itself largely remains the same.
Another thing you could look at when considering this question is which stroke consistently sees the same swimmers excel in both short course and long course. One could argue that back and fly are the most common to see someone do well in one and not the other, largely hinging on their ability in the underwaters.
The best breaststrokers (and freestylers), on the other hand, generally tend to rise to the top no matter the course, though for breaststroke specifically, it may not be an entirely fair argument because the best swimmers tend to more commonly specialize in that one stroke.
The 200 fly took second in the poll at 21.6 percent, followed by backstroke (18.7%) and then freestyle (15.7%).
Below, vote in our new A3 Performance Poll, which asks: Which meet will be faster this summer:
The A3 Performance Poll is courtesy of A3 Performance, a SwimSwam partner.